New health insurance option for the employed but uninsured

This morning the Boston Globe reported on a new health insurance plan to cover the employees and contractors of Fortune 500 companies who currently have no access to employer-based health insurance.

According to a press release on the topic from UnitedHealth Group,

Mirroring the advantages of a traditional group policy, National Health Access provides individuals with lower costs and more flexibility in health insurance coverage than most people can obtain on their own through the individual insurance market. The program includes a choice of up to six levels at different prices that can be tailored to fit individual needs. For example, participants have options to choose major medical coverage, inpatient and outpatient benefits, wellness benefits, and discounts for in-network medical care. Wellness benefits and dental and vision preventive benefits have also been incorporated into the program. Uniprise is offering options at each of the levels. Pending state-by-state regulatory approval, open enrollment is scheduled to begin September 1, 2005.

The main advantages appear to be that employees get more choices of plan design than they would have on their own, and get access to discounts negotiated by National Health Access. That way they aren’t forced into the absurdity of paying the unreasonable “charges” that providers foist on the uninsured.

Since members of this plan are going to pay out-of-pocket for much of their care, it seems like a good opportunity to apply electronic communications between doctors and patients as described yesterday.

March 3, 2005

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